CREDIT: Rosalind O’Connor/NBC

After a short one-week break (presumably so that the cast could catch up on their sleep), SNL is back with a new Season 45 episode, with Chance the Rapper pulling double duty. He’s hosted before, been musical guest before, but never both at the same time … until now! I don’t know exactly what he’s promoting right now, but he seems like the type of person who releases new music often enough that he’s always promoting something. And they seem to like him at SNL enough that he can stop by whenever he wants to. To give you a sense of where I was at while watching, I made myself pancakes. You might notice that I eat pancakes frequently on the weekends.

For the cold open, Alec Baldwin showed up as Trump again. I wish I could muster more enthusiasm. “Deep State lizard conspiracy” made me laugh, and I enjoyed Fred Armisen’s very silly Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Trump Rally (Grade: More Turkey Puns, Please) Chance the Rapper inserted plenty of rhythm into his Monologue (Grade: 4/5 Second Places) by debuting a little rap (alongside Kyle Mooney) about the second bests of various attractions, as inspired by his hometown of Chicago, the “Second City.” At first blush, this feels like it deserves a place in the Monologue Song Pantheon.

Hey look at that, Chance has a recurring character! Sportscaster Laszlo Holmes is back to report about another game he’s not familiar at all with. This time it’s League of Legends (Grade: 3.5/5 Nerd Athletes), and I’ve gotta say, even though this sketch is pretty funny, it is possible for basketball folks to also be e-sports people. Just look at Mr. Rick Fox! Judge Barry (Grade: 3.5/5) and his First Impressions Court is an efficient execution of a simple premise, but I wonder, would it have been even better if this sketch had been one minute long? Or if it had gone MacGruber-style and slipped in three short sketches throughout the show?

The Toasty Toaster Tarts (Grade: 3/5 Backpacks Thrown Carelessly on the Floor) “commercial” takes me back to when I was a young’un and the suburban mundanity of a random weekday afternoon could spur my paranoia into thinking that some monster was lurking inside the house. SNL sure do love its graveyard-set musical sketches, huh? I enjoy this latest Spooky Song (Grade: 3.5/5 Happy Halloweens) for its use of the word “heinie.” For Chance’s first song, “Zanies and Fools” (Grade: Plenty of Vibes), he introduces himself! I don’t think that’s ever happened on SNL before! Except when Garth Brooks introduced Chris Gaines (although of course, as we learned that episode, Chris Gaines is his own person). Chance raps so fast. I love his pink shirt!

It was at this point that I took a break to go for a run. It was raining the whole time. Toweling myself off afterwards was quite the ordeal. Michael and Colin didn’t seem to be experiencing a similar sort of ordeal during Weekend Update. Eric and Donald Trump Jr. (Grade: 3/5 Lie-Down Showers) stopped by again, and I saw no reason to complain. Post-Update, we had the purposely sloppy Love at First Sight sketch (Grade: 3.5/5 Visible Ceiling Strings), and I don’t know if this sort of nonsense is ever advisable, but I do know that Chance and Cecily delivered this immortal exchange:

“Have your ever had champagne?”
“No. What is it?”

(It’s more hilarious in context.)

I often wonder why accidents in space movies aren’t as explosively lethal as they are in the Space Mistakes trailer (Grade: 3/5 Space Daddies), and I’m sure other people have had similar wonderings, thus this sketch. Moving on, Dazzle Designs (Grade: 3/5 Amish Bat Mitzvahs) isn’t the most cutting or insightful comedy around, but it is the latest example of Aidy Bryant and Kate McKinnon teaming up, and for that, being alive in this current moment is worthwhile. Chance had time for a second song, as SNL musical guests are generally allowed. Megan Thee Stallion joined him for “Handsome” (Grade: 3.5/5 Jason Momoa Introductions), and I was most struck by how he rhymed “handsome” with “ransom.” And the VERY LAST SKETCH of the night features Kenan Thompson as a dance instructor in 1978 turning into a werewolf. The great majority of this scene consists of him overdramatically explaining what is happening according to the All That Style of Acting, which is to say, I loved it! Dance Rehearsal (Grade: 4/5 Window Dressings)

The November 2019 portion of Saturday Night Live will kick off with Kristen Stewart, who seems to enjoy hosting SNL, and Coldplay, who seem to enjoy being the musical guest on SNL.